Recruiting during the pandemic over the last year has certainly been challenging, but it hasn't been easy for recruits either. That is the case with Cross Plains (Tenn.) East Robertson athlete Taylor Groves. Groves, a consensus four-star prospect, was committed to Michigan at one time, but the two-way standout decided to take a slower approach.
“I just felt like it was rushed,” Groves told Irish Breakdown. “With being able to take officials here soon, I want to be able to visit places and build all these relationships with different coaches face-to-face. We've been on Zoom calls and over the phone, but I think it will be different to see coaches face-to-face. I want to experience that.”
Groves committed to the Wolverines on Feb. 5, but the dynamic 2022 playmaker opted to reopen his recruitment in March, a move that gave other programs like Notre Dame a shot. Groves initially received an offer from Notre Dame in January, and from that moment he was intrigued by the program.
“I would say the tradition is the number one thing for me, just the tradition they have at that school,” Groves said. “They are a close family, so I would say that was the biggest thing in that school that attracted me to it.”
Standing at 6-3 and weighing 190 pounds, Groves is a versatile player that can make defenders miss with the ball in his hands in addition to playing defensive back going the other way. The Fighting Irish, however, are interested in what Groves brings to an offense as a receiver.
“Me and Coach [Del] Alexander, the receivers coach, we set up a Zoom call every Tuesday,” Groves mentioned. “We are going through some of their one-on-ones [in practice] and going through the program and talking about different stuff.”
Groves has been pitched a future where he can play on the outside and act as a downfield threat, one that can pin-point 50-50 balls in the air and take the top off of a secondary. The Notre Dame target is hearing similar plans from other schools too, and some are even interested in playing him both ways at the next level. So, the next step in Groves' recruiting process is to map out his official visits, and that's one topic he's been thinking about recently.
“We are setting that up as we speak,” Groves began. “Me and my Dad, we've been talking about it. Some of the places we've thought about are LSU, Ole Miss for sure, Notre Dame, Florida -- they jumped in my recruiting process here in the last couple weeks -- and I'm sure there will be a couple more.”
Groves mentioned that he hasn't been in contact with Michigan since decommitting, so that takes U-M out of the running. Still, Notre Dame is one of the first schools he mentioned visiting, so that bodes well in terms of scheduling an official visit.
Outside of recruiting, Groves is working on his footwork and staying in shape so that he can shine during his senior season. After logging 700 receiving yards and around 70 tackles as a junior, Groves has his sights set on 1,000 yards through the air and somewhere in the 85tackle ballpark on defense.
Groves also mentioned that he's set up his classes to allow for an early graduation and potential early enrollment into college if his future school would like, so that is another element at play.
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